2013 Eye Health News Roundup (January to June)

2013 Eye Health News Roundup (January to June)
Read what eye-related medical breakthroughs and updates occurred last year that could give us a clue as to what eye-health related news to expect this 2014.

As much as we want to be up-to-date with the recent scientific studies and medical developments concerning eye health, last year was full of discoveries that have fascinated both the Arizona Retinal Specialists and patients alike. We have gotten the most widely read articles and featured news (as well as interesting ones) on the website Medical News Today from January to December 2013 and summarized them for you to look at.

Who knows, you might have missed a revelatory procedure or study that could help improve your overall eye condition. These news are worth taking a moment to read before you officially turn your back on 2013 and focus on the new year ahead. We’ve compiled and laid them out like a timeline so it will be easier for you to read.


  • Brain Goes Off-Line Each Time We Blink – A study from Japan’s Osaka University has reported that blinking has an additional purpose on top of preventing dry eyes. It is actually a way of switching from attentive mode to a temporary attention disengagement, causing the brain to temporarily shut off sensory inputs and fine tune the senses before returning to its usual scheme of things.

  • Blindness Among Mice Restored – A professor at the University of Oxford in UK have successfully restored the vision of completely blind mice through cell transplantation therapy, specifically blindness caused by retinitis pigmentosa.

  • Explaining Why Patients With Age-Related Macular Degeneration Find it Harder to Recognize Faces – A group of researchers have discovered a possible cause as to why such a phenomenon occurs, and it is most probably because of the abnormal eye movement  that is associated with AMD.

  • Exposure To Light While Pregnant Essential For Fetal Eye Development – A joint research made by Richard Lang, PhD and David Copenhagen, PhD showed how it is important that an expectant mother has to have received enough sunlight by the time she reaches late term pregnancy to aid in retinal neuron development and in the creation of healthy blood vessels in the eye.

  • Regular Intake of Aspirin Linked To Increased Risk for Age-Related Macular Degeneration – Researchers from the University of Sydney found out that individuals who often use aspirin over a long period of time have a higher risk of developing AMD.


  • 24 Genes That Cause Short-Sightedness Have Been Identified – Researchers from the Kings College in London have listed 24 genes that are responsible for the development of myopia in a person. This discovery is very promising in terms developing a cure, as some genes carry a ten-fold risk of getting myopia.

  • Discovered Protein Found to Prevent Light-Induced Retinal Degeneration – A research spearheaded by Minghao Jin, PhD of the New Orleans Neuroscience Center of Excellence, has uncovered a protein called fatty acid transport protein 4 (FATP4) that is able to protect retinal photoreceptor cells from retinal degeneration brought about by light damage.

  • First Retinal Implant for Rare Genetic Eye Disease Approved by the US FDA – Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System, the first retinal implant in the history of medicine, was given the go signal by the US Food and Drug Administration to treat retinitis pigmentosa, a rare form of a genetic eye disease where in the device performs the function of the degenerated retinal cells, bringing back the eye’s ability  to process images and improve its movement.


  • Device that Analyzes Eye Movement Could Help Diagnose a Stroke – A small, portable  electronic device called a video-oculography machine, is able to detect rapid eye movements that are too fast for eye doctors and physicians to recognize but can be observed to determine the cause of a patient’s dizziness, which could either be vertigo or a stroke.

  • Vitreomacular Traction Treatment Gains EU Approval – JETREA(R), an opthalmic medicine administered through a single dose of an intravitreal injection, gains the European Union’s approval to use the medicine to treat adults diagnosed with with vitreomacular traction (VMT).

  • Virtual Games Help the Blind Navigate through Unknown Territory – A group of researchers from the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Harvard Medical School have designed and created a virtual gaming environment that aids blind people in honing their navigation skills. It also helps them develop a mental map of unfamiliar places and buildings.


  • Wearing Contact Lens Overnight Restores Near Vision Lost Due to Aging – According to an Australian study, wearing contact lenses overnight have been found to be successful at restoring near vision. The study, tested in middle-aged patients with presbyopia, underwent hyperopic orthokeratology (OK), which prompts them to wear a uniquely designed contact lens overnight but is removed during the day with effective results.

  • Analysis Of A Novel Adenovirus May Predict The Next Eye Pathogen – A group research conducted by individuals from various academic and medical institutions has reported how their systems biology approach is focused on determining how evolution affects a disease potential from a recently discovered and identified human adenovirus. The approach is primarily based on understanding pathogenicity and viral evolution to help foresee any potential impact of emerging viruses.

  • Tetris Video Game Helps Treat Lazy Eye – In an interesting research conclusion by the scientists at the McGill University Health Centre in Canada, it appears that the iconic video game Tetris can actually help treat lazy eye, also called adult amblyopia, by making both eyes cooperate while the patient plays the game. The amblyopic brain will relearn and increase the brain’s plasticity level.


  • Blind People Can Develop the Ability to Use Echolocation – A University of Southampton research has found that visually impaired individuals can find their “inner bat” and learn to use echolocation just like bats and dolphins, which uses echos to make their way through or find where an object is located and determine its distance from the source of the echo.

  • New Findings on the Link Between Daylight Exposure and Eye Development – Two new studies from Taiwan and Denmark further supports the idea that more time under the sun can help or prevent nearsightedness among children.

  • Glaucoma Treatment May Cause Droopy Eyelids – A group of drugs that treat people with glaucoma by lowering the levels of intraocular pressure, has been found to have another side effect, according to a group of researchers from the Massachusetts Eye and Ear.


  • Groundbreaking First Drug to Help Treat Melanoma of the Eye – An experimental drug by AstraZeneca called Selumetinib has shown to have a notable longer progression-free survival among its patients, wherein half saw their tumor shrink. The revelatory findings is believed by scientists to change how metastatic uveal melanoma is treated, which for the longest time has remained an untreatable disease.

  • Researchers Discover Another Layer of the Human Eye – Researchers from the University of Nottingham have discovered a new layer near the front film of the eye. they called it “Dua’s Layer,” a tribute to the person behind the study, Prof. Harminder Dua. Knowing that there is a new layer of the eye can help ophthalmologists perform corneal transplants or grafts safer and in a more effective manner.

  • People with Impaired Vision Develop Higher Risk for Balance Problems – Vision plays a vital role in physical balance, and those who have vision problems that require glasses or corrective lenses have a greater risk of developing poor vestibular balance.

Stay tuned for the second half of our 2013 Eye Health News Roundup and don’t forget to schedule an Arizona eye care checkup with us to prevent potential eye problems.

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